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  • Searching for magic

    03/02/2015 | Sanya

    In this 'Schouten Blog' Anje-Marijcke van Boxtel (director coaching Schouten Global and coach of Team Brunel) writes, among other things, about her experiences in the talent-selection process, the training sessions on Lanzarote, her presence in the ports of the stop-overs of the Volvo Ocean Race 2014-2015.

    Relief dominates as I welcome Team Brunel on the RIB at the Chinese city Sanya. They are exhausted, but very happy to be there at last. Once they are ashore, realization gets in: “Shit, we ended up fifth.” Disappointment is written all over their faces, but their will-power is admirable. They are looking forward and only have one goal: to improve.

    Focus-on-what-is-possible.jpgWe laugh, enjoy the reunion after their long, hard trip with days of windlessness, days without sleep, decisions that didn’t turn out the way they were supposed to and the threat of rationed food. Up to the last moment they have worked extremely hard to beat Team Mapfre, which failed in the final 400 meters. But, besides that deep disappointment I notice a second emotion: an enormous eagerness to find out what went wrong. Why didn’t they succeed?

    I hear that eagerness through all the individual conversations. Before, the topic was mainly about how it was for them, but now the great search of how we can improve ourselves predominates. Why didn’t it work out? There isn’t any negative emotion, finger pointing or blame towards each other. Neither any anger towards themselves. I’m happy with that, because being anger with each other is killing for any team, and being angry at yourself will break your self confidence and self respect.

    Will-power
    I admire their will-power, their ability to carry this loss as a short term setback towards the bigger goal. Just like they saw the win at Abu Dhabi as a short term victory towards their ambition. With another six legs to go, this certainly doesn’t mean that they have lost the race. Winning is taking it one step at a time, dealing with loss and setbacks is all part of that. Those are all steps towards the dream. That awareness cranks positive emotions like a flywheel. It increases their will-power, enables them to look at the future positive and with confidence and continue to learn.

    You do need that will-power, because if you can’t deal with loss, you’ll never be able to win.  Because, in that case, anxiety will lead you. You’ll play at safe, react instead of act and you will stop growing. These top athletes are chasing their dream.

    Adding ‘magic’
    This setback is a turning point as well. If you sail well and have good results, as a team you can work with the built routines and all the differences. Up till now everyone has his own successful approach, conforming the playbook. One steers or trims this way, the other one does it that way. Everyone does it in accordance with his own patterns, wisdoms, truths, and routines. The team respects each other for that. As long as everything is going alright, that is just fine. But now things haven’t been good enough. Now time has come to take the next step in creating a high performance team. Now, it’s crucial for the crew to let go of the individual control, their own truths and start being vulnerable again. To really open up to one another and create something new together. To create synergy, add in magic and create a new situation. A step like this requires urgency, and that is what is there right now. In the following crew meetings that’s mainly what it will be about, besides looking for possible personal improvements. As professionals, how can we add magic to it? How are we going to expand? I’m already looking forward to that.

    Qualities of high performance teams

    • The team is focused on the result, the collective dream.
      The team interest prefers above the individual interests;
    • The team feels and takes responsibility and, if necessary, will call each other to account;
    • The team is committed. Priorities are crystal clear and it learns from making mistakes;
    • the team is afraid of conflicts. Everyone speaks up and respects the opinion of one and other;
    • Team members (do) trust each other;
    • The leader is optimistic about the result and has high expectations of his team.

    Links
    - Read more about: managing yourself, and managing teams 
    - Check our new clip about "Creating High Performance Teams (1)" and "Creating High Performance Teams (2)"

    Nothing from this blog may be reproduced without written permission from Anje-Marijcke van Boxtel of Schouten Global.

    Update Team Brunel, February 3, 2015 
    by Anje-Marijcke van Boxtel, Director Coaching - Schouten Global
    Coach - Team Brunel in the Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15

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